BY Winstone Antonio
ENVIRONMENT, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu says government has begun to work on the identified nodes that will drive tourism growth after a six-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the World Tourism Day Celebrations 2020 at Chinhoyi University of Technology on Monday, Ndlovu said the identified nodes include the approval of the Victoria Falls-Binga Special Economic Zone by Cabinet, which will see ten nodes in this Special Economic Zone developed.
“Government is scaling up development of an integrated tourism resort in the Masuwe area, a new resort in Binga and an eco-Tourism Park in Sijarira Forest. The proposed development in Binga includes the upgrading of the airport to improve accessibility in this resort,” he said.
“In addition, a new tourism resort will also be opened in the Batoka area, where the government has since demarcated land for tourism development in addition to plans to establish a new hydropower station.”
Ndlovu said prospects for tourism rebound were on the horizon as he urged Zimbabweans at home and abroad to take up investment opportunities at rural service centres and position themselves for imminent growth.
“We are also encouraged given the decision by the government to allow intercity travel to resume and the opening of domestic and international flights, we expect to see a gradual improvement in hotel occupancies going forward,” he said.
“In order to save and secure jobs, we need to enhance collaboration between the public and the private sectors to stimulate travel demand in the local, regional and international source markets. I, therefore, make a clarion call to the tourism industry to come up with more packages and incentives to help stimulate tourism demand under this difficult period.”
Ndlovu also called for enhanced collaboration between the public and private sectors, to stimulate travel demand in the local, regional and international source markets.
“While initial assessments we have carried out through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority indicate that occupancy rates in most hotels are still low, I remain hopeful that the situation will improve and the numbers will pick up,” he said.
“In this regard, I urge the players in the sector to come up with tourism packages that are affordable to the locals and tap into the domestic market of which clearly they are ranging between 10%-15%, with most resort hotels still to pick up due to subdued demand.”